One of the most exciting week's of the year is upon us -- Open Championship week.
Making it even more special this year? It'll be contested for the 29th time on the Old Course at St. Andrews. There's nothing better than that.
If recent history is any indication -- regardless of the weather -- scores will be really low on the Old Course. The last five winners at St. Andrews are a combined 73-under par. That includes the record-low 19-under mark Tiger Woods posted in his magical 2000 season -- the first of his two consecutive Open wins at St. Andrews.
Here are the five players you'll want to keep an eye on beginning Thursday.
5. Louis Oosthuizen
Best finish in 2014-15 season: T2 at the U.S. Open
Reason to watch: Were it not for a lousy opening round at Chambers Bay, Oosthuizen could have been the U.S. Open Champion running away. After shooting a 77 in Round 1, the 2010 Open Champion fired rounds of 66-66-67 to finish one shot out of a playoff. He has arguably the prettiest swing in the game and was the last player to win at St. Andrews. In that 2010 Open, Oosthuizen put on a weeklong clinic, lapping the field be a remarkable seven strokes. I'm not sure we'll see a repeat of that this time around, but he's certainly a man to watch.
4. Dustin Johnson
Best finish in 2014-15 season: Won WGC-Cadillac Championship
Reason to watch: I'm interested in seeing how Johnson bounces back from the heart break at Chambers Bay, where he missed a short putt that would have earned him a playoff with Jordan Spieth. It was tough to watch as a fan. You never want to see a player give away a chance at winning a major in that fashion. Johnson has shown resiliency after major disappointment before and is a regular contender in the four biggest tournaments each year. But this latest episode in the U.S. Open looked to sting more than the others. Four times in the last five years, Johnson has recorded a top-15 finish at the Open Championship. The only thing this guy hasn't done in his career is win a major.
3. Rickie Fowler
Best finish in 2014-15 season: Won the Players Championship
Reason to watch: One year after he was the only player to finish in the top five at all four majors (he was T2 in the Open Championship), Fowler is having another monster year. Just last week, he rallied late to win the Scottish Open. There's no better Open Championship primer than that. Fowler is riding high n confidence. He has the game to win anywhere and a major seems just around the corner.
2. Tiger Woods
Best finish in 2014-15 season: T17 at the Masters
Reason to watch: Here's the pick that's either going to have me looking like an idiot or a genius come Sunday afternoon. St. Andrews is Tiger's favorite course in the world and he's won there twice. He seems confident. Here's a bold statement: I'd be shocked if he doesn't contend. Win it? That might be a bit too much to ask of the 241st-ranked player in the world, but it could happen. And if it did, that would be major No. 15 and the race to catch Jack Nicklaus would officially be back on.
1. Jordan Spieth
Best finish in 2014-15 season: Won the Valspar Championship, the Masters, the U.S. Open and the John Deere Classic
Reason to watch: I have to chuckle. Less than a year ago, many were wondering why Jordan Spieth couldn't close out tournaments. Now, not only is he the only player on the PGA Tour with four wins this season, but he's also chasing his third consecutive major championship. So much for not being a closer. Fresh of his victory in a playoff at the John Deere Classic on Sunday, Spieth has a chance to become just the second player in history to win the first three majors in a calendar year (Ben Hogan did it in 1953). Since missing the cut at the Players Championship, Spieth has teed it up five times. The results look like this: T2-T30-T3-Win-Win. And that's why he's the favorite.